The prevalence of anaemia in children, married women and pregnant women in the country has shown an increase, as revealed by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – III conducted during 2005-06 in comparison to NFHS – II conducted in 1998-99 as per following details:
Prevalence of Anaemia
NFHS II (1998-99)
NFHS III (2005-06)
Children (6-35 months)
The cause of anaemia is multifactorial and various reasons include (a) inadequate intake of food (cereals, pulses, meat products) and vegetables rich in iron and folate, (b) poor bio-availability of iron in diet, (c) high incidence of hookworm infestation and (d) high incidence of malaria
The Reproductive & Child Health Programme under the umbrella of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is implementing various interventions for prevention and control of anaemia among children and pregnant women.
The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha on 20th March about the following interventions by the Government:
- Universal screening of pregnant women for anaemia as part of ante-natal care and supplementation with iron and folic acid tablets to all pregnant and lactating women. Pregnant and lactating women are provided with Iron– folic acid (IFA) tablet for 100 days during pregnancy. The Intra Uterine Device acceptors are also provided IFA tablets for 100 days in a year.
- The weekly iron-folic acid supplements (WIFS) has recently been introduced for adolescent girls in order to increase their pre-pregnancy iron stores and decrease prevalence of anaemia.
- Children from 6 months to 10 years are provided IFA supplementation in syrup/tablet form for at least 100 days in a year.
- Children under 5 years of age are provided deworming tablets/ syrups twice a year to reduce the parasite load.
- Identification and tracking of severely anaemic pregnant women at all the sub centres and PHCs for their timely management.
- Health and nutrition education during VHNDs to promote dietary diversification, inclusion of iron folate rich food as well as food items that promotes iron absorption.
- Distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs) and Insecticide Treated Bed Nets (ITBNs) in malaria endemic areas to tackle the problem of anaemia due to malaria particularly in pregnant women and children.